Richard Hutten's Dombo mug "makes people happy when they see it"

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Most Loved: next up in our exclusive video series, Dutch designer Richard Hutten tells the story behind his colourful children's cup with oversized ears for handles.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

Hutten's Dombo mug features two large handles on the sides so that young children can drink from it easily without spilling its contents.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

The Dutch designer reveals in the video that he originally designed the cup for his son.

"At that time, my eldest son was two years old," he says. "I thought it would be nice to make a mug where the drinking movement is really exaggerated."

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

Hutten initially invested in the tooling to manufacture the plastic mug himself, but soon discovered the simple shape was actually quite difficult to produce.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

"The mug is made of injection-moulded polypropylene (PP), which is a very standard technique," he explains. "But the ears are thick and solid plastic, and the mug itself is very thin, so the mould is quite complex."

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

The mug is now produced by Dutch company Gispen and is available in a range of bright colours.



Hutten says the difficulty in manufacturing the product has led to an unexpected benefit.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

"It is really a high-tech product," he says. "Which, in the end, is good, because it has not been copied yet."

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

The mug is called Domoor in the Netherlands, which is Dutch slang for "fool" or "idiot" and literally translates as "stupid ear".

Hutten decided to call the mug Dombo in English-speaking markets because it sounds similar to the Dutch word, while also being reminiscent of Dumbo, the Disney cartoon elephant with comically large ears.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

"If someone's an idiot, you call him a domoor," Hutten explains. "It's sort of swearing in a friendly way. Then I had to translate it and I thought that Dombo sounded similar, and it reminds you of this stupid elephant with big ears."

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

Over half a million Dombo mugs have been sold since it was launched in 2002.

Hutten says he is surprised that the mug has proven to be so popular, but believes it is due to the playful nature of the design.

Dombo mug by Richard Hutten

"It's a weird product, but everybody loves it," he says. "For me, the best thing is that it makes people smile and it makes people happy when they see it."

Richard Hutten portrait

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in Milan. All photography is by Dezeen.


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The Most Loved video series is a collaboration between Dezeen and car brand MINI celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people's hearts. Over the coming months, we are interviewing 16 of the world's leading designers about their most popular and enduring designs.

You can watch all the movies as we publish them on our special Most Loved microsite: www.dezeen.com/mostloved